Saw to-day on Pine Hill behind Mr. Joseph Merriam’s house a Norway Pine, the first I have seen in Concord. Mr. Gleason pointed it out to me as a singular pine which he did not know the name of. It was a very handsome tree, about twenty-five feet high. E. Wood thinks that he has lost the surface of two acres of his meadow by the ice. Got fifteen carloads out of a hummock left on another meadow. Blue-joint was introduced into the first meadow where it did not grow before.
I who have been sick hear cattle low in the street, with such a healthy ear as prophesies my cure. These sounds lay a finger on my pulse to some purpose. A fragrance comes in at all my senses which proclaims that I am still of Nature the child. The threshing in yonder barn and the tinkling of the anvil come from the same side of Styx with me. If I were a physician I would try my patients thus. I would wheel them to a window and let Nature feel their pulse. It will soon appear if their sensuous existence is sound. These sounds are but the throbbing of some pulse in me.
When it snowed yesterday very large flakes, an inch in diameter, Aunt said, “They are picking geese.” This it seems, is an old saying.
Measure your health by your sympathy with morning and spring. If there is no response in you to the awakening of nature, - if the prospect of an early morning walk does not banish sleep, if the warble of the first bluebird does not thrill you, - know that the morning and spring of your life are past. Thus may you feel your pulse.
All the criticism which I got on my lecture on Autumnal Tints at Worcester on the 22nd was that I assumed that my audience had not seen so much of them as they had. But after reading it I am more than ever convinced that they have not seen much of them, - that there are very few persons who do see much of nature.
I see, at Minot Pratt’s, rhodora in bloom in a pitcher with water andromeda.
Went through that long swamp northeast of Boaz’s Meadow. Interesting and peculiar are the clumps, or masses, of panicled andromeda, with light-brown stems, topped uniformly with very distinct yellow-brown recent shoots, ten or twelve inches long, with minute red buds sleeping close along them. This uniformity in such masses gives a pleasing tinge to the swamp’s surface. Wholesome colors, which wear well. I see quite a number of emperor moth cocoons attached to this shrub, some hung round with a loose mass of leaves as big as my two fists. What art in the red-eye to make these two adjacent maple twigs serve for the rim of its pensile basket, inweaving them! Surely it finds a place for itself in nature between the two twigs of a maple.
P. M. - See two yellow-spotted tortoises in the ditch south of Trillium Wood. You saunter expectant in the mild air along the soft edge of a ditch filled with melted snow and paved with leaves, in some sheltered place, yet perhaps with some ice at one end still, and are thrilled to see stirring amid the leaves at the bottom, sluggishly burying themselves from your sight again, these brilliantly spotted creatures. There are commonly two, at least. The tortoise is stirring in the ditches again. In your latest spring they still look incredibly strange when first seen, and not like cohabitants and contemporaries of yours.
I say in my thought to my neighbor, who was once my friend, “It is of no use to speak the truth to you, you will not hear it. What, then, shall I say to you?” At the instant that I seem to be saying farewell forever to one who has been my friend, I find myself unexpectedly near to him, and it is our very nearness and dearness to each other that gives depth and significance to that forever. Thus I am a helpless prisoner, and these chains I have no skill to break. While I think I have broken one link, I have been forging another.
Saw in Plymouth, near Billington Sea, the Prinos glaber, or evergreen winterberry. It must be the same with the black-berried bush behind Provincetown.
A mild, misty day. The red (?) oaks about Billington Sea fringed with usneas, which in this damp air appear in perfection. The trunks and main stems of the trees have, as it were, suddenly leaved out in the winter, - a very lively light green, - and these ringlets and ends of usnea are so expanded and puffed out with light and life, with their reddish or rosaceous fruit, it is a true lichen day. They take the place of leaves in the winter. The clusters dripping with moisture, expanded as it were by electricity, sometimes completely investing the stem of the tree.
Bravery deals not so much in resolute action, as in healthy and assured rest. Its palmy state is a staying at home, and compelling alliance in all directions.
The brave man never heareth the din of war; he is trustful and unsuspecting; so observant of the least trait of good or beautiful, that if you turn toward him the dark side of anything - he will still see only the bright.
It is hard to preserve equanimity and greatness on that debatable ground between love and esteem. There is nothing so stable and unfluctuating as love. The waves beat steadfast on its shore forever, and its tide has no ebb. It is a resource in all extremities, and refuge even from itself. And yet love will not be leaned on.
P. M. - The rain ceases, and it clears up at 5 pm. It is a warm west wind and a remarkably soft sky, like plush; perhaps a lingering moisture there. What a revelation the blue and the bright tints in the west again, after the storm and darkness! It is the opening of the windows of heaven after the flood!